Another working day, another chance for MPs to try to reverse Brexit through forcing through the Commons a formula for remaining in the EU by pretending to deliver a form of the oxymoronic, deeply dishonest and cowardly “soft” Brexit.
And Mrs May apparently intends to try once again to blackmail buckling Brexiteers into backing her Brexit-in-name-only-Remain-by-stealth deal – which as argued here is a one-way ticket back into the EU – on the false grounds that the alternative to that is no Brexit at all.
The civil servant whistleblower “Caroline Bell” argues here that this fourth attempt by Mrs May would seem to be illegal.
Whether or not it is illegal, it is certainly an attempt to force MPs, facing the choice between Mrs May’s deal and the MPs’ own alternative proposals, into a choice between Remain and Remain, as argued here.
And the alternative to it is not no Brexit at all. The alternative, for which MPs have themselves legislated (and amended), is to leave the EU on April 12.
By now, it has become overwhelmingly apparent that the dire predictions of apocalypse now if the UK leaves with no-deal have been ludicrously exaggerated. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has admitted that his previous warnings were wrong. He now says the country’s borders and banks are increasingly well prepared for no deal, softening the blow to growth and avoiding the worst of the potential chaos if no transition is agreed.
Civil servants, writing under cover of anonymity, have testified to the fact that the country is in fact prepared.
The former Bank of England Governor Lord King, who would ideally like to leave with no deal after a six-month delay to avoid a “short-run dislocation cost”, says nevertheless that the predictions of economic ill-effects from no-deal have been overstated and a “scare story”, that it’s not obvious there would be any jobs lost at all and that the UK should not want to remain in a EU which is facing “disastrous” outcomes from monetary union.
In other words, it’s overwhelmingly in the UK’s interests to get out of the EU as cleanly as possible.
So why are MPs refusing to support no-deal on the grounds that it would be “national suicide”, a view which Mervyn King characterises as “a collective nervous breakdown”? The answer is that leaving with no-deal is the only way actually to leave the EU. Since the EU would never agree to terms that really did allow the UK to operate as an independent country, Remainers could be pretty certain that any deal to which its negotiators agreed would inevitably leave the UK still under its thumb.
Leaving with no-deal is therefore, to them, an utter disaster because it is the only way to deliver Brexit. Which is why these MPs, with the connivance of the Speaker, are now tearing up constitutional convention and parliamentary rules in order to stop it.
The choice facing MPs today hasn’t changed: allow the UK to leave with no deal and thus deliver Brexit and honour the referendum result; or vote for Mrs May’s deal or one of the Remainer sleight-of-hand proposals like customs union and you’ll be spitting in the eye of the people, destroying the Conservative party (and possibly Labour too) and obliterating what remains of the public’s dwindling trust in the entire democratic process.